CHURCH RULE #1

110_0012Always keep the lobby clean – that’s the first thing people see when they come in the door. If the lobby is filled with boxes, leftover jackets and discarded bulletins, the first impression will be a bad one. Check out the table or rack where you keep all the missionary newsletters, magazines, tracts, brochures, etc.  Get rid of the newsletters from 2003 and the women’s retreat brochure from 2007. Neaten the piles.  Fix it up as good as you would fix up your house when expecting company.

MONDAY MORNING MOTIVATOR – RESURRECTION

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Those of you who know me, understand why this song has special meaning.  This was one of Ken’s favorites and about a month before his death, we sang it at church. After we finished, he said he wanted everyone to sing it at his funeral – which we did.

Because of that –  the song brings sadness – but on the other hand, the words bring joy. What better words to hold on to than the words of this music?  (I especially enjoyed hearing Keith and Kristyn Getty sing it at EPA last year – they are the ones who originally wrote and recorded it, along with Stuart Townend.)  We sang it at two different services this Easter – and I’ve thought of the words each time (as I do every time we sing it).  I can’t even tell you my favorite lines, because they’re all so good.

Sometimes I think we hear so much about the resurrection (especially this time of year), we tend to go through the motions and forget the real significance.

You probably know this song – read through or sing it and think of the words …

In Christ Alone”
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

WEEKEND WANDERINGS

dsc_0970Well, it’s been an active week, but not overly eventful.

At work, I spent a lot of time getting caught up on odds and ends. We also had two birthday lunches.

One person chose TGIF – because we had buy an entree/get an entree free coupons. If you look on their website, they have some additional cool coupons – buy an entree/get one for a dollar.

My brother chose Yu’s Mandarin for his birthday lunch – an extremely good Chinese Restaurant on Golf Road in Schaumburg. The place was packed (and was fairly large). The food was plentiful, but not so plentiful that you felt like you could feed the entire department on one dish. I did take enough back to work, put it in the refrigerator and finish it for lunch the next day. If you like Chinese food, I would say this place is worth the trip.

I went to a bridal shower – fun.

Also, am working at crossing something off my ongoing todo list – getting my passport renewed. I have one, but it expired about the same time Ken was sick, so I’ve never gotten around to renewing.  No, I’m not going anywhere, just being prepared.

I did take a couple hours this weekend to read through the Matthew chapters that talk about Christ’s death and resurrection. I think the concept that jumped out at me this time as I read the verses (this is not a new concept to me, but the one that came to the forefront of my thinking) is how simple it would’ve been for Christ to NOT die.

Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53)

Remember the song …

He could have called ten thousand angels

 to destroy the world and set Him free.

He could have called ten thousand angels,

 but He died alone for you and me.

Have a thoughtful Easter, remembering what the Lord has done for you.

#2 SOME MARRIAGE TIPS FROM MY DAD

ADAPT – Your mate will not change, cannot change, so why make an issue of it? Adapt to your mate’s peculiarities. If you will do this for your mate and your mate will do this for you, you will have success.

ACCEPT – Don’t adapt to your mate with resentment or bitterness. Accept what your mate does as part of who your mate is. Accept and don’t rejec.t

OUR SUNDAY ADVENTURE

On Sunday Cindy and I – and the up-north munchkins headed to Chicago to attend a church I hadn’t been to before.. The reason why is that Cindy’s brother is on staff there and she wanted to see where he served. The church is tucked between some houses in a very busy area of Chicago. OK, I travel miles throughout the Chicago area every week (though not down those crowded residential streets), but when I considered how busy some of those narrow city streets were at 10:00 on a Sunday morning, it is down right scary to think what they would be like during rush hour.

Anyhow … 110_05011110_0502

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As someone in ministry (whether that’s a pastor’s wife or an Awana leader or a teacher), take advantage when you have opportunity to visit a different church. Look around. (Ken always hadme bring home bulletins when I would do leadership conferences at different churches around the country.)

Ask yourself questions about the church you’re visiting.

1. Are they doing something different/unique that you could apply to your own ministry?

2. Are they friendly? If so, what did they do to make you feel at home? If not, what could they have done?

3. What programs do they have?

4. In what outreaches are they involved?

5. Does the church itself look welcoming? If so, why? If not, why not?

 

———–

Back to Sunday. Cindy always wants to go to Giordanos when she’s here, so we decided to go to one down the street. We had a few minutes before church started, so we checked it out and it was closed for renovations.

So, after church we asked around and someone recommended a place called Capones. So we headed there with Cindy’s brother and wife. (They were in their own car.) We traveled several blocks with several stoplights and several hundred cars. Found a parking space (think parking at Wrigley Field) and walked the three blocks to the restaurant – only to find that it was closed for a party. 

“Well,” said Cindy’s brother, “we can go to Baker’s Square. Just turn right and it’s a few blocks.”

So, we turned right and went several miles and were stopped by a train, a very, very long train. And kept going, but didn’t see a Baker’s Square. After going and stopping and going and stopping for about 40 minutes, we discovered we were going the wrong direction. So, back down the long, busy road we went. Finally at two o’clock, we were sitting down for lunch.

But the day was fun, so all was well.

TRADITION

As I mentioned on Monday, this was the weekend when the ladies in our family held our annual Purim celebration.

We do this each year (thanks to my daughter’s mother-in-law).  We each choose a lady who is bold, brave and beautiful, trusts God and does what is right. We write a  short bio of the lady we’ve chosen and then make enough copies for everyone to keep in their bold, brave and beautiful notebook. The 9yo was just a baby when we started our tradition – this year she did her own bio. Besides Mrs. Luther, this year we heard about Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist), and Elizabeth Fry, a lady who helped with prison reform, Anna (a lady Kelli met in Ireland) Nora, a lady who has overcome great physical difficulties, Deborah, Lottie Moon, the Caaanite woman and I think I’m forgetting someone. We eat lunch, read our stories and then toast each other with pickles, encouraging each other to trust God and do what is right.

Here are some pictures from this year’s Purim Celebration –

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MONDAY MORNING MOTIVATOR – THE FIRST PARSONAGE

gl076Well, it’s been an a fun, eventful weekend at our house. I’ll tell you more about it in future posts.

Saturday was our annual ladies-of -the-family Purim celebration. I’ll explain that more, too.

But my choice of  bold, beautiful, brave woman this year (again, more in future posts) is a pastor’s wife, Katharina Luther.

Here’s her story.

 

I’m not sure how romantic the circumstances were the first time you met your husband, but I’m sure whatever they were, they were more romantic that Katie’s.

Katie grew up in a convent. Her mother died when Katie was only three, so her father, not knowing what else to do with her, put her in care of the nuns.

Naturally, she also became a nun, but as she studied the tenants of the Catholic faith, she realized that she didn’t agree with all of them. She heard about a man, Martin Luther, who was teaching salvation by grace and she was interested – as were some other nuns. But to follow Luther, they would have to leave the convent.

When Luther heard of the restless nuns, he devised a plan. He convinced the merchant who delivered herring to the convent, to hide the 12 nuns in empty fish barrels and help them escape. The merchant agreed and the nuns were freed. But there was a problem.  Eleven of the nuns went back to their families or were married or found positions – but not Katie.

Finally, Luther’s friends convinced him to marry Katie himself. He was given the old Augustinian monastery at Wittenburg, so he and Katie moved in.  Love? Probably not at first.

Luther wrote: “There is a lot to get used to in the first year of marriage. One wakes up in the morning and finds a pair of pigtails on the pillow which were not there before.”  But it wasn’t long after that he wrote to another friend, “My Katie is in all things so obliging and pleasing to me that I would not exchange my poverty for the riches of Croesus.”

Luther, the monk, became a big champion of marriage.

Katie did a lot for Luther. She got up at 4:00 a.m. each morning to care for the vegetable garden, orchard, fishpond and barnyard animals. Yes, she even butchered the animals herself. Often she cared for more than 30 students at the monastery – and her husband, who was often sick. 

But it wasn’t all work for Katie. At the encouragement of Luther, Katie also studied and memorized the Bible.

The Luthers had six children of their own and raised four orphans. One of their children died young, but the other five all grew and gained prominent positions in life.

The Luther parsonage was “filled with children, students and relatives. It was a place of culture and music and of joy and happiness.”

Luther summed up their marriage like this: I would not exchange Katie for France or Venice, because God has given her to me, and other women have worse faults.”

Married life might have begun for as a fugitive in a herring barrel, but Katie built a home that was held in high esteem as a model for other German families.

Katie is also considered to be the first ministry wife who 100 percent supported and encouraged her husband, working by his side and truly being a helpmeet.  Their home is memorialized as the very first parsonage.

 

So, the next time you think you’ve got it bad – think about Katie. Think about getting up at 4:30 each morning to butcher the animals for your ten children and the 30 students over in the monastery. Think about marrying someone who chose you ONLY because he didn’t know what else to do with you.  Yet, turning that pastor’s home into one of culture, music, joy and happiness.

I say, “Good for you, Katie.”